There is usually a lot of blah blah blah on whole body power and spiraling energy on neijia forums, as if most sports don’t make use of this kind of power. I’m not big into golf, but people also make frequent comparisons of taijiquan and golf – the relaxation, whole body rotational power, focus, mind/body unity needed, etc. Anyway, I was reading a story today about pro golfer, Rory Sabbatini, who increased his “internal hip rotation” from 25 to 60 degrees on one side and 27 to 62 on the other over a year. That eliminated lower back pain that kept him from training enough, and his world ranking shot from 42nd to 8th. There is a case study about his fitness routine on that requires free registration. At the moment, I have no idea what “internal hip rotation” is or if it’s possible to measure it at home, but I can say for certainty my internal hip rotation is bleach, not good. It’s too bad there is no market for this kind of assessment (the tests are incredibly detailed) for taijiquan hobbyists, but it seems golf physical therapists can offer all kinds of assessments on muscular imbalances and recommendations for improvements. Some quotes from the WSJ article I was reading, with a final quote from the case study:

  • casual players can see dramatic improvements in their swing with as little as five minutes of work a day
  • Increasing internal hip rotation by just five degrees, for example, can lead to a significantly better turn behind the ball, which can increase distance and take pressure off the lower back.
  • The increase of external rotation in Rory’s shoulders allow him to swing the club more around his body which encouraged the energy in his golf swing to be created with the body instead of the [sic] with his arms and hands.

I was surprised but not surprised that his conditioning program is from Athletes Performance based in Tempe, AZ, the same folks behind Core Performance which emphasizes “pillar” (hips to shoulders, not just abs/back) strength. I have their basic book and it looks like he does some of these exercises (plus having therapists check his posture, do all these tests, etc.). I feel I should do some more of their exercises now. They are all very simple.